On the Watchlist

You’d think that one of these days, I’d stop giving so much attention to the books I don’t have and put more focus on the books that I do have. And it’s not that I don’t love the books in my collection. I love them to death. But sometimes books come out, or are coming out, that catch my eye and I want them too.

(Oh, admit it, you do it too!)

That’s why I like to take a step back every once in a while and look at some of those books. Shine the spotlight on some that I can’t bring attention to with a review.

Long Black Curl, by Alex Bledsoe

In all the time the Tufa have existed, only two have ever been exiled: Bo-Kate Wisby and her lover, Jefferson Powell. They were cast out, stripped of their ability to make music, and cursed to never be able to find their way back to Needsville. Their crime? A love that crossed the boundary of the two Tufa tribes, resulting in the death of several people.

Somehow, Bo-Kate has found her way back. She intends to take over both tribes, which means eliminating both Rockhouse Hicks and Mandalay Harris. Bo-Kate has a secret weapon: Byron Harley, a rockabilly singer known as the “Hillbilly Hercules” for his immense size and strength, and who has passed the last sixty years trapped in a bubble of faery time. He’s ready to take revenge on any Tufa he finds.

The only one who can stop Bo-Kate is Jefferson Powell. Released from the curse and summoned back to Cloud County, even he isn’t sure what will happen when they finally meet. Will he fall in love with her again? Will he join her in her quest to unite the Tufa under her rule? Or will he have to sacrifice himself to save the people who once banished him?

(Honestly, I kinda want to read the whole series, but this is just the most recent one.)

Ink and Bone, by Rachel Caine

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.

When he inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn…

The Drowning God, by James Kendley

Detective Tohru Takuda faces his own tragic past to uncover modern Japan’s darkest secret–The Drowning God.

Few villagers are happy when Takuda comes home to investigate a foiled abduction, and local police enlist powerful forces to shut him out. Takuda sacrifices his career and family honor to solve the string of disappearances in the dark and backward valley of his youth, but more than a job is at stake. Behind the conspiracy lurks the Kappa, a monstrous living relic of Japan’s pagan prehistory. Protected long ago by a horrible pact with local farmers and now by coldly calculated corporate interests, the Kappa drains the valley’s lifeblood, one villager at a time.

Takuda and his wife, Yumi, are among the few who have escaped the valley, but no one gets away unscarred. When Takuda digs into the valley’s mysteries, Yumi’s heart breaks all over again. She wants justice for her murdered son, but she needs an end to grief. Even if Takuda survives the Kappa, the ordeal may end his marriage.

With Yumi’s tortured blessing, Takuda dedicates his life to ending the Drowning God’s centuries-long reign of terror. He can’t do it alone. A laconic junior officer and a disarmingly cheerful Buddhist priest convince Takuda to let them join in the final battle, where failure means death–or worse. The journey of these three unlikely warriors from uneasy alliance to efficient team turns THE DROWNING GOD’s mystery into an adventure in friendship, sacrifice and courage.

(I’m of two minds when it comes to books involving Japan. On one hand, I love the culture and language, so I’m drawn to such books. On the other hand, I’ve seen so many people mangle the language and get things wrong that I’m also a bit wary every time, half expecting another book that will make me want to headdesk because it contains a dozen and one errors that a quick Google search could have helped avoid. But I remain ever hopeful, so I want to read this one.)

Shades in Shadow, by N K Jemisin

Three brand new short stories by Hugo, Nebula & World Fantasy Award nominated author N.K. Jemisin, set in the world of the Inheritance trilogy.

From the shadows of the greater stories, away from the bright light of Sky and wending ’round the sagas of the Arameri, come three quieter tales. A newborn god with an old, old soul struggles to find a reason to live. A powerful demon searches for her father, and answers. And in a prequel to the Inheritance Trilogy, a newly-enslaved Nahadoth forges a dark alliance with a mortal, for survival… and revenge.

Return to the world of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms in these three interconnected short tales.

(Holy crap yes! I mean, how much have I loved everything to do with this trilogy? So very much! And to know that there are a few new stories coming out fills me with such happiness!)

The Dark Arts of Blood, by Freda Warrington

In 1920s Switzerland, vampire lovers Charlotte and Karl are drawn into turmoil as Godric Reiniger, a local filmmaker and activist with sinister ambitions, begins his rise to power.

Meanwhile, fiery dancer Emil achieves his dream to partner the legendary ballerina and vampire Violette Lenoir – until his forbidden desire for her becomes an obsession. Rejected, spiralling towards madness, he seeks solace with a mysterious beauty, Fadiya. But she too is a vampire, with a hidden agenda.

When Karl and Charlotte undertake the perilous journey to rescue Emil, they unearth secrets that threaten the very existence of vampire-kind.

(This does remind me that I still have to set up the review for the second book. I’ve read it, and written the review, but it never did get posted, because I’m a terrible procrastinator…)

Red Girls, by Sakuraba Kazuki

When the Outland People abandoned a baby girl on the outskirts of a village, few imagined that she would grow up to marry into the illustrious Akakuchiba family, much less that she would develop clairvoyant abilities and become matriarch of the illustrious ironworking clan. Her daughter shocks the village further by joining a motorcycle gang and becoming a famous manga artist. The Outlander’s granddaughter Toko—well, she’s nobody at all. A nobody worth entrusting with the secret that her grandmother was a murderer.

This is Toko’s story.

13 comments on “On the Watchlist

  1. I loved Ink and Bone, absolutely loved it. Long Black Curl also looked great to me and I’m hoping to get to it soon. Thanks for introducing me to The Drowning God, I think I may have to check that one out!

  2. Great post Ria – and ‘You’d think that one of these days, I’d stop giving so much attention to the books I don’t have and put more focus on the books that I do have’ – yes, you have to have all the NEW BOOKS! I love all the books I have, but, I just want more. Is it really wrong!
    The Tufa series I read the first one and also have the second waiting perhaps I should give that a go and look at the third one.
    Definitely keen to read Ink and Bone – seeing lots of positive reviews for that that have piqued my interest.
    At least four more books on here that I now want – I don’t know whether to thank you or just never read your blog again :D *sigh*
    Lynn :D

  3. (I’m of two minds when it comes to books involving Japan. On one hand, I love the culture and language, so I’m drawn to such books. On the other hand, I’ve seen so many people mangle the language and get things wrong that I’m also a bit wary every time, half expecting another book that will make me want to headdesk because it contains a dozen and one errors that a quick Google search could have helped avoid. But I remain ever hopeful, so I want to read this one.)

    I did intentionally misrepresent the top-down hierarchal structure of the Japanese police (weirdly enough, that was for simplicity’s sake!), but I tried to stay pretty true otherwise. I think someone like you, who seems to know a lot about Japan, will dig this book because I did my best to do transparent Japan — true to the people and places I saw during my eight years there, but not designed to teach anyone about Japan, just to tell good stories. However, there’s enough subtext to give Japanophiles an extra level to chew on. The more you know, the richer a read it will be, IMO. Hope you enjoy it!

    • Artistic license with some things like that is totally understandable, and in some cases, inevitable. And I’m really honoured that you dropped by to leave this comment, too; gives me hope that I’ll enjoy reading it!

      I’ve read far too many books where it seems that the most the author knows about Japan is that the language has a “consonant+vowel” pattern to the syllables, and a few assorted things picked up from episodes of anime. It gets disheartening after a while, and it lead me to the conclusion that I need to read more fiction from Japan rather than about Japan. or at least from authors who’ve spent a good amount of time there, as you have! :)

      • I’ve got a post coming on the TOR site about five books that really changed my thinking about Japan while I was there. They’re all mystery and suspense (duh), but interesting cultural reads, IMO. I’ll swing back by and post a link when it comes out.

  4. Pingback: July in Retrospect | Bibliotropic

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